Whether you work at home or in a large office full of coworkers, it can be a challenge to stay on task throughout the day. Life is just full of distractions.
Unfortunately, being sidetracked and unproductive are bad traits to have in the workplace. Not only does it make you feel like you’ve wasted hours of your day getting very little done, but it can also hurt your chances for a raise or promotion since managers often keep track of which employees work diligently.
While each person’s situation is unique, here are some basic ways to increase your focus while on the job.
Set Manageable Goals
When faced with a major goal, project, or challenge, many people find themselves avoiding the task or procrastinating getting started. This lack of focus can become crippling at the start of your workday, since it puts everything else behind schedule.
To avoid shying away from your work or getting discouraged, break down your goal or project into manageable pieces. It is often easier to focus on one step at a time, and completing smaller tasks often help propel you forward.
Whether its office gossip, social media, or a squeaky office chair, the fewer distractions you have to deal with, the better your focus. Not every distraction can be fully eliminated; however, there are often many ways to minimize their influence.
For example, if you can’t stay off social media entirely, set a timer when using Facebook while at work. If your cell is constantly beeping, silence it or set it to airplane mode. Invest in a new desk chair if yours is old and uncomfortable to sit in.
Get Into a Good Daily Routine
While bouncing from one thing to another might seem effective, most people actually perform better when they work according to a daily routine. This is because the human mind is a creature of habit. In general, your mind is better at focusing when you’ve established that you need to be writing, programming, or doing a certain job every day at a certain time.
Ideally, start off your day by planning out the top two or three things you want to accomplish. Tackle your most difficult challenge first so your mind can get into the habit of focusing for the tasks that are most important.
Prime Yourself to Work
Personal, physical, and situational distractions often rank high on the list for hindering people’s ability to focus on their work. Thus, it is important to recognize what aspects of your work environment are daily issues and need to be prepared for.
For example, orientate your schedule around your most naturally productive time of day as much as possible. If your office is noisy, then prime your focus by using noise cancelling headphones or listening to music. Minimize aches and pains by investing in a more comfortable and ergonomic office set up. Dress for success by wearing clothing suited to the temperature of your office or by always having a jacket on hand if it gets cold.